Story at a glance:

  • Window film is a cost-effective addition to outdated glass windows that can help reduce energy consumption.
  • Each custom window film is made from polyester laminate and is applied directly to existing glass.
  • Both commercial and residential structures can benefit from multi-use window films depending on their specific needs.

Energy-efficient windows save money, reduce carbon footprints, and increase comfort inside buildings. But despite advancements in technology, many buildings are operating with low-performance windows that come at a high cost to the bottom line and the environment. “Most US buildings have inefficient glass because the buildings were built years ago,” says Matthew Darienzo, CEO of Solar Art. “Outside of taking all the glass out to replace, window films are the only option to really improve efficiency.”

Industry leader Solar Art has been providing simple, inexpensive alternatives to replacing out-of-date windows for more than 35 years. In the last decade Solar Art has worked hard to share more information about the most effective way to retrofit pre-existing glass—in particular enhancing buildings across the West Coast to make them more energy-efficient and modern.

Commercial Window Film

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Solar Art installed 3M RE35 for this project. The commercial window film blocks 99% of the UVA and UVB rays. Because it is a heat-blocking window film it will help improve energy efficiency and lower your electricity bill. Photo courtesy of Solar Art

Window film is a sheet of polyester laminate that is primarily placed on the inside of glass. Other materials are included inside the film depending on its objective. Solar window film is used to keep an interior space cool by reducing the heat transfer caused by UV rays entering through a building’s glass. The film blocks heat by reflecting it back to the exterior or by absorbing it in the film and glass to keep the inside cool.

Commercial window films come in varying shades from lightest to darkest. If your primary objective is to keep interior temperatures cool and block glare, you will likely want to choose a darker film or a ceramic window film. Reducing glare is especially useful in an office space with many computers. Solar film will also help reduce fading on any furniture or products that are kept inside near windows because it blocks 99% of ultraviolet rays.

Films come on large rolls and are cut to match any shape and size. A liner is peeled away to reveal the adhesive layer that is carefully placed on the window. A detail-oriented eye positions the film perfectly and is careful not to leave any bubbles or dirt underneath. “On the surface it’s a simple process, but it’s a skilled trade,” Darienzo says. “It’s difficult to learn and to install window film the right way.” When you work with Solar Art, their expert team installs the films for you. With years of practice and expert training, they make the job look easy.

Window films are an appealing option for residential and commercial buildings alike. The Solar Art team has applied films everywhere from small business storefronts to high-rise office buildings. Window films have the greatest impact on buildings that are exposed to the sun during the day with large windows and inefficient glass.

What are the Benefits of Window Film?

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Window film can help improve energy efficiency and qualifies for LEED credits. Photo courtesy of Solar Art

Installing solar window films improves energy efficiency and saves money. In sunny months heat transfers inside from outside primarily through glass. “Logically, when a building gets hot inside, you turn on the air conditioning, which uses electricity to cool the space,” Darienzo says. A window film that blocks and rejects heat, keeping a space naturally cool, will save building owners money by lowering electricity bills.

While solar window films cut costs and keep interior spaces comfortable, other films are designed to upgrade buildings in different ways. Security window films are also offered in shades from light to dark but are made to be much thicker than solar films. Because one of the easiest break-in points on any building is its windows, keeping them secure is important. And while the film itself strengthens the glass, an attachment system is also put in place for additional strength, and liquid silicone is used on the edge of the film and the window frame so the glass won’t fall in after breaking. “If you hit the window film it might shatter, but the whole piece is going to stay together,” Darienzo says.

Solar Art also installs anti-graffiti films that act as a layer of protection in the event of any vandalism like etching or painting. Rather than having to replace the glass, which is costly, a building owner just needs to call up Solar Art to remove the damaged graffiti film and replace it with a fresh new layer.

What about Overall Design?

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Decorative window film and custom vinyl graphics can be used to increase privacy and add a design factor to any space. Photo courtesy of Solar Art

While solar film, security film, and anti-graffiti window film boost energy efficiency and make spaces safer, decorative window films and custom graphics are other types of window film that update the design of a space. Frosted or patterned films may be used to revive a storefront or offer more privacy in a busy office. When you work with Solar Art’s creative in-house graphics team, they help you explore all of the ways decorative window films can transform a space. Imagine not just an opaque glass around your conference room, but a beautiful mural of flowers, a modern geometric design, or an ombre blend of colors. And why waste valuable space in your waiting room or retail storefront when you can use decorative films with your logo front and center?

Window film can bring indoor spaces to life while they also keep temperatures comfortable, reduce glare, and ensure a building is secure. “It’s such a great option,” Darienzo says. “People still don’t realize what all a window film can do.”

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